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Cardiac AL amyloidosis presenting as recurrent dyspnoea in a patient with cancer: an important clinical clue to an early diagnosis


Cardiac amyloidosis (CA) is challenging to diagnose due to its non-specific clinical manifestations early in the disease process. We report the case of a patient who presented with dyspnoea, abdominal distension and leg swelling. Medical history was notable for hypertension, recurrent vulvar squamous cell carcinoma and polysubstance abuse. Over 1 year before the official diagnosis of CA, the patient had multiple hospital readmissions for dyspnoea. Our case illustrates the importance of having a high index of clinical suspicion for an early diagnosis of CA. Furthermore, it highlights the need to re-evaluate a presumed diagnosis when a patient’s symptoms recur or do not respond to appropriate treatment and to consider the influence of social factors on diagnostic processes.

  • Heart failure
  • General practice / family medicine
  • Cancer - see Oncology
  • Gynecological cancer
  • cardio-oncology
  • cardiac amyloidosis

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